HISD Students to Get More Choices in School Cafeterias

Tex-Mex and deli concepts launched last spring to expand to seven more schools

September 14, 2011
As she stood in the lunch line recently at the Lee High School cafeteria, Patricia Treviño couldn’t decide whether to have roasted chicken or seasoned beef on her tacos. The one thing she was sure of was how much she appreciated having the freedom to decide for herself.

“It’s better to get to choose and being asked what we want and have it made in front of us…compared to last year, it is way better! We really appreciate it,” said the senior.

HISD’s Food Services department launched both the made-to-order Tex-Mex concept (dubbed “Tortilla Fresh Mex”) and a specialty sandwich shop (dubbed “The Green Street Deli”) this spring at two of the district’s largest high schools: Lamar and Westside—and opened a Tortilla station at Lee High School just this past month.

The Tortilla Fresh Mex station boasts up to six customizable entrée selections each day, such as soft and crispy tacos, burritos, nachos, and quesadillas, all served with freshly made salsas. The Green Street Deli, meanwhile, has a soup and a Panini grill station with a selection of premium lunch meats and cheeses to choose from. It also uses freshly baked whole grain bread for its sandwiches, which is made on the premises daily.

“The number one feedback we received from the students we surveyed was that they would eat cafeteria food more often if it looked more like the franchise brands they were used to,” said Senior HISD Food Services Administrator Brian Giles.

Giles said that the first two campuses were selected because they serve big populations, yet have some of the lowest percentages eating in the cafeteria—and changing that statistic would be in the students’ best interest. “Contrary to what many people believe,” he said, “typically, school lunches are much more nutritious than what kids bring from home.”

Students at seven other high schools—Bellaire, Davis, Jones, Kashmere, Milby, Reagan, and Sharpstown—will also have those options this fall.